- Know your guests! Well obviously with a guest list of that size, you do not personally know all of your guests. We certainly do not know them personally, but you should know what they can eat, what they should not eat, if there are any allergies you should be aware of, and their dietary habits (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free). Knowing that you cared enough to make a menu full of food that they can actually eat means a lot! It's difficult and takes extra effort, but it really pays off in the end.
- Have a plan...and stick to it! Know your budget and the type of food you can get with your budget. Sure, we'd all love to have free range, organic everything but it's expensive and when cooking for a crowd, it's best to just stick with the basics. Chances are, your guests won't even notice the difference if the food is made and served with care.
- Seek out help. Lots and lots of help! Don't do this alone! It's stressful and unnecessary for one person to handle an entire meal. Grab a few other pals and have them come to your rescue. It will make you feel so much better.
- When cooking everything, set timers for everything! Cooking food in excess can lead to lots of food needing to be in the oven at the same time, but they do not all need the same amount of cooking time. Set timers for everything know which is which. It's kind of a lot to keep track of, but it's worth the hassle and your food won't be burned or overcooked.
- Label every food item! Make sure that your guests know what is in everything so that they know whether it fits their dietary needs. It's a little detail, but it's very important.
- Make sure that the spread looks appealing and thoughtfully placed. Even though you may have a bunch of different foods doesn't mean that they all have to be slapped on the table. Thoughtfully plan where everything is going to go and the order in which the guests are supposed to serve the food.
Here's a few things that we're planning on making (and I'll document the process to show you guys next week but in the meantime):